The Google speed update
Due to go live in July 2018, the Google speed update will make page speed a ranking factor in mobile search results for the first time. Google recently announced the new ranking algorithm, saying only pages that delivered the slowest experience to users would be affected.
With the announcement being made around six months before the update goes live, Google says webmasters will have time to prepare in advance. The search engine giant suggests using PageSpeed report and tools such as LightHouse to check the page speed and improve the site where necessary.
The update means it’s even more important than ever before to ensure your site is optimised for mobile devices. When it comes to your website’s success, mobile SEO is an important element.
Statistics show more people are using their mobile device to search, browse and shop. Almost one-third of online shopping (30%) comes from mobile devices. However, consumers will exit the page if your site takes more than three seconds to load, adversely affecting your site’s bounce rate.
In addition, research shows 79% of shoppers won’t purchase from a site a second time if they are dissatisfied with its loading speed the first time. Regardless of whether your site is e-commerce, directory or other content, you must ensure it’s ready for mobile search, so it will appear in Google’s SERPS.
The speed update will apply the same standard to all pages. However, a slower page may still rank higher if it has top quality and relevant content, as the intent of the search query is still a strong signal.
As long ago as 2010, Google had said that page speed was a factor in ranking, but at the time maintained it was focusing on desktop searches. The speed update will now focus on the speed of your mobile pages, so after promising to take this into account for a few years, Google has finally acted.
Google hasn’t specified whether the ranking factors will also apply to desktop searches after July 2018. It’s important not to focus solely on mobile SEO to the detriment of desktop, as the latter still impacts on most sites.
Although a lot of people use mobile phones for day-to-day activities such as social media, messaging and browsing sites, they may still prefer to use the larger screen of a desktop or tablet for other more detailed actions, such as making an expensive retail purchase or booking a holiday.
Some e-commerce businesses receive more traffic from mobiles, but the conversion rate from mobiles isn’t as high. This occurs when the user decides to return to make a purchase on a desktop at a later date. Hence businesses need to consider all the channels that bring in traffic.
It is important to utilise an SEO strategy across a number of devices, extending beyond basic onsite optimisation. Businesses should consider the user experience and user-flow, which will differ on each platform. They must also make sure site health in terms of technical SEO is in good shape.
Webmasters have six months to prepare their web pages before the speed update goes live in July, so it’s important to start now.
Page1 provides specialist SEO services to deliver effective and innovative digital marketing campaigns that achieve measurable results. Let our expertise help you to prepare your site for the Google speed update. For further information, please give us a call on 0800 404 5988.